Johannesburg - The dirty battle for DA Gauteng’s coveted position of provincial leader has lifted the lid on more details of internal wrangling within the official opposition.
The Star can reveal that a battle has apparently been raging between DA deputy chief whip Mike Waters and the party’s leader in Gauteng, John Moodey, and his supporters.
Waters is accused of trying to sway the Ekurhuleni DA caucus from supporting Moodey’s third term as party leader by using underhand tactics.
The DA in Gauteng, which has become the biggest province of the party, is holding its crucial conference from Saturday at the Gallagher Convention Centre in Midrand.
Moodey will square up with newcomer Ghaleb Cachalia, an ally of Waters. Waters was this week summoned to answer to allegations that a fellow member received a bribe from the ANC.
According to party sources, in May, Waters wanted Tanya Campbell to take over the leadership of the Ekurhuleni caucus when Cachalia was deployed to Parliament.
Instead, a fierce battle ensued between Campbell and former MP Phillip de Lange, who was sympathetic to Moodey. De Lange won the battle to replace Cachalia.
In what was believed to be Waters’s onslaught to remove De Lange, on September 18, Waters, during a DA provincial executive council meeting, accused De Lange of receiving a bribe from the ANC to pay his debt to the DA.
Waters alleged De Lange had been “captured by the ANC” and said it was possible the ANC had paid for his candidacy fee to qualify as a caucus leader.
According to insiders, De Lange had an outstanding fee for his candidacy prior to his appointment and also an outstanding fee owing to Ekurhuleni after selling a property. “As a result of the two outstanding fees, De Lange could not get a certificate of good financial standing from the party,” one source said. But it was understood that when he replaced Cachalia, he had paid both of the outstanding debts.
According to sources, troubles for Waters began when he asked the provincial executive to probe where De Lange had obtained the money.
On learning about this, De Lange asked the DA to lodge an investigation into Waters’s claim.
Waters, when contacted, claimed ignorance of any inquiry against him despite being summoned on Monday to answer to some of the allegations he had made.
Moodey confirmed that Waters had been summoned but said it was not a disciplinary hearing, but rather an inquiry to ascertain certain facts.
The new allegations against Waters emerged following a damning letter Gauteng DA chairperson and Tshwane mayor Solly Msimanga wrote to the party’s federal chairperson James Selfe, asking him to institute a federal legal commission against Waters.
In the letter, dated November 4, Msimanga alleged that Waters could have been responsible for the leak to the media of a “damning” Gauteng internal membership audit report two weeks ago which laid bare irregularities in the party membership in the country’s economic hub.
The DA, however, has played down the alleged turmoil, saying its Gauteng Congress was the “first step towards bringing about a new beginning for the 12million people who live in Gauteng”.